Jigawa governor’s rally records low turnout as angry residents whose farmlands were seized stay away

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar [Photo Credit: Online Nigeria]
Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar [Photo Credit: Online Nigeria]

The governor of Jigawa State, Mohammad Badaru, was embarrassed on Tuesday by locals who shunned his re-election campaign rally in Gagarawa Local Government Area of the state.

The rally was arranged to enable the governor, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), solicit the support of voters in Gagarawa and Kazaure local government areas.

Mr Badaru flagged off his re-election campaign at Guri and Hadejia local government areas of the state on January 21.

Of the 17 candidates vying for the gubernatorial position in the state on March 2, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s Bashir Adamu and Aminu Ringim of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are considered Mr BAdaru’s main rivals.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the people of Gagarawa are angry with the governor over the seizure of their farmlands, which the state government handed over to foreign investors for an irrigation farming project.

Idris Garin-Ciroma, a resident of the area,  said the locals felt the state government did not adequately compensate them for the seized land.

“That’s was part of the reasons we agreed to shun the campaign venue,” he said.While addressing the few people who turned up at the rally, Mr Badaru defended the project.

“I know that you’re angry with me over your farmland, but I pray for you to live long and you will praise my administration over the investment that I brought to this community,” he said at the event.Mr Badaru cited the example of a  similar development in Kano under Audu Bako who was the military governor of the state from 1967 to 1975.

Mr Bako, a police commissioner, had acquired a large parcel of land in now Kura Local government area for the Kadawa Irrigation Farming Project, which he introduced.According to Mr Badaru, although the people were livid at the time, they are now proud of Kura as one of the biggest producers of rice in Nigeria.

While the governor addressed the rally, many residents assembled at Garin Ciroma for a protest when the governor’s entourage would pass through the place.

However, after being briefed on the planned protest, the governor took a different route to avoid the assembled locals.Also in Kazaure, the governor’s convoy came under attack by angry youth at Dandi community.  It took the intervention of a lawmaker, Gudaje Kazaure, who sped ahead of the governor’s convoy to clear the way for the entourage.

Receiving the governor at his palace, the Emir of Kazaure, Najib Husseini, advised him on issues bothering the people, which he said needed to be urgently addressed. The traditional ruler told the governor that the cold reception he got in the town was provoked by his representatives in the area.

He also called for the rehabilitation of the Kazaure-Roni road which he said is in bad shape.

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At Gwaram, the most populous local government area in the state, the campaign trail met another resistance as a senator seeking reelection, Sabo Nakudu, was booed off the podium.The constituents accused Mr. Nakudu of poor representation and desertion of both the National Assembly and his constituency since his election in 2015.

However, the day was pleasant for the governor’s entourage in Jigawa North-east senatorial district, as Mr Badaru succeeded in reconciling an influential politician in Hadejia, Ahmad Garba, and the deputy governor, Ibrahim Hassan.

At the event, Mr Garba called on his supporters to sheathe their swords and vote for all APC candidates in the zone.

The comment of Mr Garba received thunderous applause from thousands of his supporters, signalling an end to the feud between the two political leaders.

In his remarks at Hadejia, Mr  Badaru reminded the gathering of his campaign promises he claimed he has fulfilled. He promised to do more to improve the living standard of the rural dwellers through the provision of social services if reelected.

At the event, the state deputy governor, Mr Hassan, who is running for the Senate in the zone, said he was confident of victory, judging by the size of the crowd at the rally.

The area consisting of eight local government councils: Hadejia, Auyo, Mallamadori, Kafin-Hausa, Guri, Kirikassamma, Kaugama and Birniwa, is a stronghold of the APC.

The spokesperson for the governor, Bello Zaki, said the protests in Gagarawa was instigated by party members, he said, failed at the primary elections.

“We have already settled the issue and invited all the stakeholders in the area. They have agreed to support the governor,” Mr Zaki said.

“It was a minor political disagreement between politicians in the area. The former minister, Bello Maitama; the speaker, Idris Isa; among others were in the Government House and assured the governor that all the issues had been resolved.”

About the incident in Kazaure where the governor was booed, the governor’s aide said the area is dominated by the opposition.

“We didn’t take it that seriously because they’re a minority. We’re determined to win 85 percent of the votes in the coming election.”

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